I love Bar Alto. It’s the perfect combination of gorgeous food and friendly, professional service, not to mention that I usually associate Bar Alto with going to the theatre, which is high on my list of pleasurable activities.
What is it about Alto that I love? It’s Italian food with a modern touch. It’s a slightly industrial but warm and inviting dining space. It’s knowledgeable wait staff. It’s value for money and to take a leaf out of The Castle, it’s the vibe of the place!
Al and I have been frequent diners at Alto for years but just recently, thanks to the Brisbane Festival, I was lucky to eat here two Saturday nights in a row. Night one I dined with Miss P after seeing White rabbit, red rabbit. We ordered the fichi arrosto, oven roasted fig, gorgonzola fritter, pancetta, walnut toast and spiced leatherwood honey. Such a pretty dish and the textures and tastes blended so well together.
For main, Miss P choose risotto of zucchini flowers, lemon thyme and pecorino. Risotto, when done well, is truly one of my favourite dishes in the world and this version did not disappoint. I tried but couldn’t go past my very favourite Bar Alto dish. Homemade pappardelle with goat ragu. It’s been on the menu for years and years and is so full of flavour and tender goateness, it really is a dish made with love. It’s not a pretty dish but the pasta is silky and the goat melts in your mouth. Available as an entree or a main, I always order entree size and can never finish it, as the servings are large.
Night two I dined with Al before seeing The Last Supper. I usually prefer sitting outside at Bar Alto, with the view of the Brisbane River and a breeze, it’s a lovely atmosphere, but we were shown to a table inside next to a rustic brick wall. Not quite as pleasant as outside but a good view of the kitchen and the buzz of the bar.
The wine list is predominately Italian so we choose a glass of vernaccia, a variety of wine grape grown in the San Gimignano area of Italy and in Sardinia. We shared marinated olives and hand rolled grissini. Ciabatta with evoo and rolled and pan-fried sardines with breadcrumbs. All delightful little morsels to get our taste buds ready for the main event.
For main Al choose the pan roasted Gooralie pork tenderloin, house cured pork belly, peaches, pickled lombardo pepper and aceto balsamico (traditional balsamic vinegar). Al declared this one of the best pork dishes he has eaten in years. Yes, after two bites from Al’s plate, I once again had food envy!
Originally I was opting for the francobolli, a ravioli of roasted duck and marscapone with wild mushroom ragu. Instead I went with the pesce in padella, pan-fried barra with hazelnut mayonese, crushed kipflers and watercress. The flavours were clean and fresh and the barra melted in your mouth but the sweet and salt of the pork dish still had my heart.
To finish on something sweet I ordered an affogato but on over-hearing the waiter describe the gelati flavours to the table next to us, I quickly ordered a scoop of my most loved gelato flavour… burnt caramel. Who knew? Espresso poured over burnt caramel gelato is absolute heaven.
Chef, Sajith Vengateri is to be congratulated for consistently producing quality food. It’s no surprise as he worked at the famed Cipriyani Hotel in the Cayman Islands and under Ortiga’s Pablo Tordesillas for three years so obviously had the very best of training. If you are heading to a show at the Powerhouse or you are just looking for a lovely lunch venue on the river, then you really can’t go past Bar Alto. No question, I’m sure we’ll be back several more times during 2013.
Tuesday – Friday 11am til late
Saturday – Sunday 11 am til late
Level 1 Brisbane Powerhouse – on the river
p: 3358 1063